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Petraeus Resignation Stirs Questions; Obama Honors Veterans; Not Hiring Because of Obamacare?; Life Not Normal After Superstorm Sandy; The General, the Mistress & Benghazi; Waiting to Deck the Halls; Lakers Hire D'Antoni to Replace Brown

Aired November 12, 2012 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. I'll see everybody back here tomorrow morning.

Hey, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Soledad. Thank you. Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM.

General misconduct. A sex scandal forces out David Petraeus from the CIA's top post. Today the military community reels from a spectacular fall from grace.

More fallout over Obamacare. With President Obama winning re- election, more businesses taking a harder look at how the health care overhaul will affect their bottom line. Some are now threatening hiring freezes and layoffs.

Decking the halls before Thanksgiving? Not so fast. Some stores are drawing the line over when they'll start celebrating the Christmas season.

And watch out. A pit road brawl. Rival NASCAR crews throw punches after a hit and run on the track.

NEWSROOM starts now.

Hello, from Washington. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for being with us on this Monday morning. This morning a sex scandal tarnishes one of the most respected names in Washington and raises questions about one of its most secretive agencies.

Three days after that extramarital affair forced General David Petraeus to resign as director of the CIA. Lawmakers are demanding answers. Why didn't the FBI inform them of the investigation? And what does this mean for this week's Senate hearing on the deadly attack in Libya?

Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon.

Barbara, General Petraeus was to be a primary witness in that closed door hearing. What now? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, by all accounts, he will not appear at this week's hearing. The man who will is Mike Morrell, his deputy at CIA, now essentially the acting director of the agency.

Mr. Morrell, a highly respected intelligence professional, has been with the agency for many, many years, would know all the same information that David Petraeus knows.

But the question on the table, Carol, is whether that's going to be politically enough for Congress. Are they so irritated about this entire matter that they will subpoena Petraeus in the weeks ahead and compel him to come testify about what he knows about the Benghazi attacks?

COSTELLO: Barbara Starr reporting live for us at the Pentagon this morning.

This affair is baffling on so many levels. How could a man with such a pristine reputation show such awful judgment? And how could this woman have such unprecedented access?

The answer may be as simple as one slippery step at a time. Listen to these comments from General Petraeus' mistress, Miss Broadwell. They sure have a different meaning than when she first said them to CNN back in February.


PAULA BROADWELL, CO-AUTHOR, "ALL IN: THE EDUCATION OF GEN. PETRAEUS": At some point I think he realized I was taking this research very seriously. I was sharing hardship with the troops and risk and so forth, and decided to open up a little bit more access. But we had a relationship before I went there as far as this dissertation was concerned. So it just took it to another level.


COSTELLO: Jacey Eckhart is a military life consultant and nationally syndicated military columnist.

Welcome, Jacey.


COSTELLO: It's great that you're here this morning. Not to trivialize all of this because the security issues are quite serious, but this is sounding almost like a farfetched plot from the cable soap "Army Wives." Now another woman is involved that Paula Broadwell allegedly sent her these harassing e-mails because of her friendship with the general.

I mean how does the military community make sense of all of this?

ECKHART: I think the most important thing to remember about the Petraeus family is that they have spent their entire marriage working for the military. Holly Petraeus is so well known for her work with predatory lenders and trying to end the military foreclosures on homes. This is a family that is known for fighting for the military family itself.

COSTELLO: I just can't even imagine how Mrs. Petraeus is feeling this morning.

I want to talk a little bit more about Miss Broadwell, though. She's military herself. She wrote a book on the general. She used that book -- she used that to plug her book on Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. She's writing her dissertation on the general. And now even after the affair is over allegedly writes these harassing e-mails to a woman who knows the general.

I mean what do you make of her?

ECKHART: What I think is important about that relationship is we've got to keep in mind that when any kind of family, not just a military family, but any kind of family where you have a lot of time that you're spending apart, that it is really important to have good relationship hygiene.

When you meet people, and this happens to military spouses and to military members, when you meet somebody you're attracted to, you have to be really careful to keep them at arm's length. And I think that one of the problems we often see in military life is that when you have an exemplary life like the general has that you think that that will not happen to you. And you are susceptible to that at different times of your life.

COSTELLO: Do you think he should have resigned from the CIA?

ECKHART: I think that maintaining national security is the number one thing to keep in mind. And that when -- the way you treat the people who are closest to you, and that is your partner in life, that matters to help the rest of the world sees you. And although we're all very modern and we'd like to think that we've evolved past that, the truth is that one person that you spend your life with, it tells a lot about you.

COSTELLO: Jacey Eckhart. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

ECKHART: Thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: Despite General Petraeus' resignation, he could be forced to testify in the Senate investigation of that deadly attack in Libya. In the meantime the government's anti-terror experts are poring over the latest remarks from an al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In the audio tape posted on jihadist websites, he again references the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on September 11th. Just the day before al-Zawahiri had called for Americans to be targeted in Libya. The U.S. is trying to figure out if he had a direct role. There's a diplomatic milestone to report from war torn Syria. The U.S. is formally declaring its support for a newly formed coalition trying to topple the Assad regime. The anti-government groups unified to win more international support and a better plan for a post-Assad future.

In Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington President Obama paid a Veterans Day visit to Section 60. That's the burial site for military personnel killed in the war on terror that was launched after the 9/11 attacks. He says the nation is indebted to the sacrifices paid in all wars and by all veterans.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, a proud nation expresses our gratitude. But we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake, is enough to truly honor that service.


COSTELLO: President Obama says over the next few years more than a million service members will transition back to civilian lives. He also points out it was the first Veterans Day in 10 years that no Americans served in Iraq.

If you're looking for a job in New York, Applebee's might be a waste of your time. Area franchise CEO Zane Tankel says he may have to take drastic measures to avoid costs associated with Obamacare.

Alison Kosik is in at New York -- is in New York this morning.

So Alison, he is not the first CEO to hint of firing employees or hiring freezes because of Obamacare.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Because according to, you know, employers like that, it's going to cost these businesses that much more, albeit, you know, this affects only about 3 percent of businesses. Bur still, Obamacare is already changing the way those businesses hire. And it's not necessarily for the better. So under Obamacare businesses with 50 or more employees, they've got a choice.

They could either hire full-time employees and give them health insurance or face a fine of $40,000 plus $2,000 for each additional worker past 50. So what some businesses are doing is they're limiting schedules for hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. Meaning they're moving toward hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones because it would cost them too much.

And it's something that's really affecting the service industry, meaning, you know, restaurants and hotels that rely on a high turnover workforce and typically haven't offered health insurance in the past.

Darden Restaurants, that's the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, reportedly is trying out a plan to hire part-time workers in some of its markets to replace some full-time workers who've already left. Now this is along the lines of what Zane Tankel is threatening to do, the head of Applebee's, actually an Applebee's franchisee.

That's who Tankel is, he runs about 30 Applebee's at restaurants in the New York area.

Carol, no official comment from Tenco or Applebee's corporate parent company, DineEquity -- Carol.

COSTELLO: OK. Let's take it a step further. Could we see prices increase on menus because of all of this?

KOSIK: You know what, raising prices, Carol, is typically the last thing restaurants want to do. They don't want to scare away customers. You know most likely these restaurants, they try to cut back down on staff, they count down in hours for their workers, they cut down on expanding the restaurants.

They do all of that before they think about raising prices. But a slowdown in hiring, that could affect your dining experience in other ways. You know a smaller wait staff that means more customers per server, which could lead to slower service. And the chance that the customer will get annoyed and not come back to the restaurant -- Carol.

COSTELLO: I understand. Alison Kosik live in New York for us this morning.

It is the kind of brawl -- oh, it's the kind of brawl you see in baseball, not NASCAR. Wait until you see these grown men running at one another throwing punches. Except this time a few of those punches actually landed. It happened at NASCAR this weekend.

With just one lap to go in Phoenix Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer's car. Gordon would later said he was retaliating from Bowyer running into him several times this season. The crash on the track triggers this big brawl between crewmembers of the two teams -- look at that.

Bowyer even ran over to Gordon's hauler to confront him. There he goes. But he was stopped by NASCAR officials before he got there. And yes, there could be suspensions because of this.

Atlanta's run in a perfect NFL season is over. The New Orleans Saints popped the Falcons' bubble 31-27. The Falcons had a chance to go ahead late in the game but they just could not score from the one yard line. Here it is. Oh, it's painful. It's painful, it's painful. Atlanta's record falls to 8-1. The Falcons have a shot at revenge when they host the Saints on November 29th.

Talk about a game that wears you down.

Did you have the stomach to watch the Giants-Rams game to the bitter end? Then you well know San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers hits a field goal three seconds left to send the game with St. Louis into overtime. But those would be the last points on the board. Akers and his Rams counterpart Greg Zuerlein had chances to win in O.T., but they could not convert. This was a frustrating game. Final score, Rams 24, Niners 24. It is the NFL's first tie game in four years.

A massive explosion destroys homes and kills two people in Indianapolis. We'll hear from a survivor.


COSTELLO: It is 15 minutes past the hour.

Checking our top stories now:

Officials at Indianapolis are still not saying what caused a massive explosion overnight Saturday. Two people were killed, seven others injured. Residents just remain in shock this morning.


DEBBIE WAGNER, HOME DAMAGED BY EXPLOSION: My first thought was a bomb. I mean, I can't imagine. The house felt like it was shaking.


COSTELLO: Thirty-one homes sustained major damage with at least five of those destroyed requiring demolition.

With the so-called fiscal cliff looming, President Obama is focusing on money matters this week. He'll be meeting business leaders on Wednesday at the White House. They'll discuss ways to keep the economy growing and reduce the deficit.

Your Thanksgiving dinner will cost you a few cents more this year. And you can blame the turkey for that. The American Farm Bureau Federation says the average cost of the traditional dinner for 10 is just under $50. The cost of the turkey is about four cents a pound higher than it was last year.

And the official start of winter is more than a month away. But Bismarck, North Dakota, got an early jump. A weekend storm left at least eight inches of snow on the ground and led to dozens of traffic accidents. No serious injuries, though, have been reported.

It's been almost two weeks since superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast. Still life is nowhere back to normal. The deaths of two more people have been linked to the superstorm. That brings the total number of those killed across the region to 113.

Right now, more than 160,000 customers in 10 states and Washington are still without power.

Travel is getting a little easier. Rail service is back between New Jersey and Manhattan. A new ferry service between Hoboken and Manhattan is running.

Victor Blackwell joins us now from New York.

Tell us something good, Victor. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, I can tell you that some of the people in this neighborhood of Far Rockaway and Queens, they now have power back. But many of them do not.

You mentioned two things. The additional deaths blamed on superstorm Sandy and the power outages. One of those deaths was a man who lived here in Far Rockaway. He was 77 years old. He died at the hospital from injuries he suffered while falling down the stairs after the storm.

And some of the people who do not have power live in this community, about 37,000 in the Rockaway area. Many of them live in this building right here. This is the Ocean Village building three. People here have been without power since the storm. They say now they have cold water and gas, just enough to heat boiling water on the stove and try to get some heat that way.

There's been some noise in the background. A crew just showed up. They're actually building a fence here. That was actually commissioned before the storm.

But there has been no crew here to hook up this generator that's sitting in a parking lot. We've made calls to find out exactly who rented this generator and if it belongs to the building or who owns this generator, to find out if it can be used to provide some power.

We spoke with a woman who just got power back this morning, maybe about six hours ago. Her name is Dee Arrington. And she was here on the day that that storm hit and she tells us about the wave coming up the street.


DEE ARRINGTON, FLOOD VICTIM: Something told me to go out and look outside. When I went to look outside, I saw this wave coming down the street and I heard that wave and that wind screaming. I said, oh, no. I'm in trouble.

I went back inside the house and got my son, because he was sleeping on the couch. I said, we got to go.


BLACKWELL: She spent the night at a local train station until about 4:00 in the morning when water receded. She had water damage in her house. The sand came up this street.

There's still some on the ground here. But there are other things here on the ground. These are MREs, meals ready to eat. We're told the National Guard came to the building behind me on Saturday, asked if people need food and water and returned with some of these. But these people still have no heat, no electricity, still waiting for some relief now, almost two weeks since superstorm Sandy -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Unbelievable. Victor Blackwell, thanks so much.

Talk back for you today, should General Petraeus have resigned? I'll be right back.


COSTELLO: Now is your chance to talk back on one of the big stories of the day. The question for you this morning: should General David Petraeus have resigned?

General Petraeus famously disciplined, respected and admired by both Democrats and Republicans -- a rare creature, indeed. Maybe that's why so many are asking why? Not why the general cheated on his loyal wife of 38 years, but why he chose to resign over a fleeting, tawdry affair? One the FBI says was not criminal and was not a security risk.

CNN political analyst David Gergen, who knows the general and his mistress, says we ought to understand Petraeus' humanness and appreciate that. And Gergen added, remember, many great men have cheated.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I would hope people would remember there have been other great leaders in this country. Remember President Eisenhower when he was General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby and how important that was to him. Remember Franklin Roosevelt and Lucy Mercer, how important that relationship was during the Second World War.

I think we have to be understanding that as the saying goes, the best of men are still men -- men at their best.


COSTELLO: Note he didn't say Clinton and Lewinsky. But I digress.

Former CIA man Robert Baer is flummoxed, too, over Petraeus' resignation. He says, "I'm telling you there's more to this than sex. There's something going on here which I can't explain and I think we're going to find out very soon," end quote.

Congressman Peter King seems to suspect Petraeus resigned because the general doesn't want to testify about intelligence failures in Benghazi, Libya -- alleged failures that may have caused Ambassador Chris Stevens his life.

Petraeus would not likely cop to that. Friends say he's devastated by his mistake. As he said himself in his resignation letter to President Obama, quote, "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and leader of an organization such as ours."

Talk back today for you today: Should General Petraeus have resigned?, There it is. We'll have your responses later this hour.

A heated Florida congressional race still undecided nearly one week later. Now one candidate, a Tea Party candidate is threatening to take the case to court if the results don't go his way.


COSTELLO: We're coming up on 30 minutes past the hour. Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello.

Stories we're watching right now in THE NEWSROOM:

We're just about two minutes from the beginning of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Traders there will honor vets on this Veterans Day. Ringing the opening bell, members of the United States Marine Corps. This is one of several commemorations today.

Just a few minutes ago, a moment of silence was observed along with -- you can hear that in the background -- the playing of the "Taps". Another moment of silence will be held at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Seven New Jersey gas stations and a hotel are facing civil suits over price gouging following superstorm Sandy. The suit claims prices rose anywhere from 17 percent to 59 percent after the storm. New Jersey has a law limiting markups to no more than 10 percent during a state of emergency and only if the storm forces additional costs for the business.

It's been almost one week since the polls closed. But in Florida, one congressional race drags on. Republican Congressman Allen West is losing to his Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. A partial recount shows Murphy leading by over half a percentage point. That is not enough to trigger an automatic recount. West's campaign manager, though, is vowing to take legal action.

The distinguished career of General David Petraeus came to a shocking end on Friday when he resigned from his post as CIA director after an FBI investigation exposed an extramarital affair. Up until that abrupt resignation, General Petraeus was slated to testify before Congress about the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attacks.

Now, acting CIA Director Mike Morell is expected to appear in his place.

Joining me now, CNN contributors Will Cain and L.Z. Granderson, to talk about all of this. Will is also a columnist for L.Z. is a senior writer for ESPN.

Good morning to you both.



COSTELLO: I'm going to ask you the question that most intrigues me about this sordid controversy.

L.Z., do you think the general should have resigned?

GRANDERSON: Yes and no. You know, I'm really conflicted about this. I've been having a really difficult time trying to work up emotions either way about it and I'll tell you why.

First of all, we just don't know the nature of this relationship with his wife. We don't know what they agreed to, what they didn't agree to, what they had a silent understanding between. We don't know any of that. All we know is that we found out he's had an extramarital affair.

And so we don't know if this is the first time his wife has found out about it. We don't know if she's already known, already dealt with it. We don't know any of this. So, it's hard for me to get that upset without having all those details.

But on the other side of that, when you're the head of the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, when you're supposed to be representing something, to be the figurehead of something that's supposed to be about truth and honesty, then yes, he should have resigned, because on the surface it looks as if he was not being truthful and honest. But again, I can't stress the importance enough of looking at the relationship with his wife and that we don't know what they actually agreed to and didn't agree to.

COSTELLO: Well, we do know the FBI found there was no security risk in the course of this affair. So, how do you answer that question? Should the general have resigned?

CAIN: Yes. I think so. Here's why, Carol. I'm going to have to outsource my judgment on this.

On a common sense level you would look at it and go, wow, was there a national security threat here? Could there have been leaks? We know Paula Broadwell had supposedly classic documents on her computer.

But the FBI said those didn't come from Petraeus. Or did Petraeus compromise himself by putting himself out there in a situation where he could be blackmailed.

Look, I don't know. And the long (INAUDIBLE) is this, those that do know, director of national security, James Clapper, Dianne Feinstein who's on the national security committee. Although she found out late, they've all looked at it and said, yes, this is a situation where Petraeus should have resigned. It seems to be among those that have the details that are necessary the conclusion you have to reach.

COSTELLO: Well, former CIA guy Robert Baer says there has to be something more to this than just a sexual affair, L.Z., especially in light of the Benghazi hearings coming up. I mean, what do you make of that?

GRANDERSON: I think General Petraeus definitely needs to testify if for no other reason than to add some more validation to the fact that he felt he resigned because it was the honorable thing to do because of the extramarital affair. If he does not testify, it makes it look shady. That adds to me a greater blemish to his legacy than resigning because he had an affair.

COSTELLO: Well, and, Will, it would be embarrassing if they'd have to subpoena General Petraeus to testify, right?

CAIN: Yes. You know, L.Z. used the word "shady." Look, we need to do away with any -- any pretenses of shady here. We have to see the light on this issue.

It doesn't look good that this came out days after a national presidential election when we know that so many high levels of government knew about this and possibly including Eric Holder. So did the administration know about this? If they didn't, why wasn't the White House made aware of this?

That leads you inevitably to Benghazi. But this is an issue the nation needs to know about. They need to have their questions answered. What happened in Benghazi?

And General Petraeus is the one man that can answer many of these questions. It's unacceptable that we wouldn't hear from General Petraeus on this issue.

COSTELLO: OK. So there's a congressional hearing over everything in Washington. L.Z., I know you're a betting man. Do you bet there'll be a congressional hearing on this whole situation surrounding General Petraeus and who knew what, when?

GRANDERSON: You know what? You know, kind of echoing what will said, we definitely need to find out the truth about what happened in Benghazi. If we have to take these steps, so be it.

But we need to know what the White House knew. But we already know that. Republicans also knew. Eric Cantor has known since October. He didn't do anything.

So, I mean, there's a lot of questions that needs to be answered. And yes, a congressional hearing and definitely needs to hear from General Petraeus. I think it's very important to this.

COSTELLO: Well, the reason there maybe won't be a congressional hearing, will, is because General Petraeus is universally liked by both Democrats and Republicans.

CAIN: He certainly is, Carol. But you have to say that, you know, facts trump personality and career on this point. I mean, this is -- both of these issues now, what occurred over the last several months with the investigation into General Petraeus and Benghazi has to take precedent over all of the good everyone recognizes General Petraeus did leading up to these moments. There are just simply events we need to know about.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll be talking about this for a long time. I can predict that.

Will Cain, L.Z. Granderson, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

CAIN: Thanks, Carol.

GRANDERSON: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Judy Garland's iconic dress from "The Wizard of Oz" has a brand-new owner. We'll tell you how much they paid to claim that piece of Hollywood history.


COSTELLO: Television producer Henry Colman has died at the age of 89. Now, he might not be a household name today. But the iconic shows he worked on, we loved them.


COSTELO: Oh, that brings me back to the day.

"Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer joins us from New York.

Colman was a very accomplished guy.

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Really accomplished. And who wasn't a fan of "The Love Boat," Carol? I mean, come on.

COSTELLO: I loved it.

HAMMER: Everybody loved that show.

According to the death notice that was released by the family, Henry Colman passed away last week. He was a producer and writer on that famed series. But, yes, very accomplished. He work on shows like "Hotel," "Peyton Place," "Dr. Kildare." And since we're honoring our veterans today, everybody should know that he also served in the Army Corps during World War II as a navigator on a B-29.

And over the last few years, he's been keeping busy by interviewing industry notables with the archives of the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences. Those are the people behind the Emmy Awards. He was actually taped himself for the archives back in 2001 talking about how "The Love Boat" really had to survive a stormy start before its smooth sailing.

Let's watch a bit of that.


HENRY COLMAN, "LOVE BOAT" PRODUCER: I think we shot it in September of '76 and went on the air not too much longer after that. It was not a smash success. A whole different cast than appeared in the series.


HAMMER: It's hard to imagine that show with a different cast. No Gavin MacLeod.

Carol, according to a posting from Colman's son on "The New York Times'" Web site, the Academy started a fund in Henry Colman's name. But it's interesting. I think there's a generation now that is not familiar with "The Love Boat." And everybody should go online and find it and watch it. Because a true, true classic in the late '70s.

COSTELLO: Yes. It might make a bit of your brain die, but it's very enjoyable.


COSTELLO: I just -- I love Gopher. What can I say?


COSTELLO: Yes. Let's talk about Judy Garland's "Oz" dress, because it sold at auction. And I'm wondering for how much.

HAMMER: Wait until you hear this number. This could make for a very expensive Halloween costume. This is Judy Garland's iconic costume from "The Wizard of Oz" sold for $480,000.


HAMMER: You heard me right. Almost half a million bucks.

Now, they haven't released the identity of the buyer. Nobody knows exactly what's in store for this blue gingham dress. Maybe somebody's planning to reunite the outfit with the pair of ruby red slippers of something.

But this was sold as part of an auction held by Julien's Auction House, which also included a dress worn by Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music" and a couple of Marilyn Monroe outfits.

But, Carol, Dorothy's costume by far the biggest item on the block, $480,000.

COSTELLO: I'm thinking if a private person bought it, what do you do with that dress? Put it on a mannequin and put it somewhere in your house?

HAMMER: I have to believe it's in a case somewhere with security guards and mission impossible-like security. That's unbelievable to me.

COSTELLO: Me, too. A.J. Hammer, many thanks.

The new James Bond film "Skyfall" is making bank at the box office. A.J.'s back next hour with more details.

The holidays as you know are big business. And while some stores want to get into the mood earlier, others prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time. Isn't that refreshing?



COL. GREGORY D. GADSON, GARRISON COMMANDER, FORT BELVOIR, VA.: May 7th of 2007 my vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq. I remember the explosion very clearly. It's something you never forget. And ultimately, over the next two weeks I would lose my legs above the knee.

But when I came home, of course, wounded, that was -- that was a new experience for me. I had never come home without my troops. I really felt alone. I did say absolutely enough is enough.

It was -- not that I got to a point where I felt like I was going to take my life or anything like that. But I just didn't want to be a burden to anyone.

I just wanted to just kind of crawl in my hole and kind of collapse on myself. I'm very grateful and thank God that I didn't do that. For me, when I tried to quit, when I tried to crawl into that shell, it was very uncomfortable because that wasn't who I was.

I'm the garrison commander of Fort Belmar, Virginia. We support a base including about 51,000 personnel.

So we're going to add battalions but lose brigades, right?

All of our services appreciate the value that someone has regardless of what they don't have anymore. This event that happened to me doesn't define me. And it's not something I dwell on.

I wouldn't characterize myself as a hero. I mean, ultimately those that really pay in full measure are heroes. I just say if you know a veteran out there, then just tell him thank you and their family. I never get tired of hearing it.



COSTELLO: It's 45 minutes past the hour.

Checking our "Top Stories" now, the State Department has congratulated Syrian opposition factions for coming together as one group. In a message to Syrian Forces a State Department spokesman says, quote, "We look forward to supporting the National Coalition as they chart a course to end -- to the end to Assad's bloody rule."

It's been called the floating city but right now most of it is complete underwater, more than 70 percent of the city of Venice, Italy was flooded after recent storms unleashed torrential rains. This is the sixth worst flooding the city has experienced in more than 100 years.

In less than ten years the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest oil producer. That's according to a new study from the International Energy Agency. This should happen around 2020 and about ten years after that the U.S. is expected to become completely energy independent. Wow.

Christmas will not come early for one major retailer. While other stores want you to start shopping even earlier, another store -- I admire this store, Alison Kosik. I admire this store.

KOSIK: I do, too. I admire it more for its clothing. But ok, for this too, sure. Talking about Nordstrom and yes, this got a lot of attention in the blogosphere this morning. There's a photo of a sign at Nordstrom that says the company is not going to be decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

Now here's the thing with this. It says, "We won't open until Friday, November 27th. That was actually Black Friday in 2009. So it turns out, Carol, this is nothing new for Nordstrom. In fact the store says it's waited until after Thanksgiving to decorate its stores for Christmas for over 100 years.

But now in an age where retailers can't wait to roll out Christmas displays and the commercials before Halloween, Nordstrom is trying to make hay by reminding its customers it likes to celebrate one holiday at a time. I like that line of thinking.

COSTELLO: I do, too because Thanksgiving is always so disrespected. And it's a great holiday.

KOSIK: Yes we just -- it just rolls away. And we forget that it even exists.

COSTELLO: It's true. Ok.

Speaking about stores not like Nordstrom's "Toys R Us".

KOSIK: Right.

COSTELLO: It's actually opening its doors before the turkey has time to digest.

KOSIK: Exactly. Yes, "Toys R Us" -- add "Toys R Us" to the list of retailers opening on Thursday, Thanksgiving night. The retailer saying it's focusing on electronic sales including its own tablet devices for kids. As you know Wal-Mart, target, Sears, K-Mart all opening on Thursday night for anybody who wants to work off that Thanksgiving meal.

COSTELLO: Yes, you can just run through the aisles chucking toys in your basket.

KOSIK: Yes, bring the whole family.

COSTELLO: Yes. Thanks, Alison.

"Talk Back" question for you this morning, "Should General Petraeus have resigned?" Your responses, next.


COSTELLO: "Talk Back" question today, "Should General David -- should -- should David Petraeus have resign? That's the question we asked you today. This is from Anthony, "Personal integrity is a prerequisite to effective leadership. It's sad that such a talented leader compromised himself."

From Rafael, "No -- his resignation is a bigger security threat than having an affair."

This from Cynthia, "I don't think anyone should resign over an affair. Unless that person is a spiritual leader who is supposed to give a good example. As long as you're not sleeping with the enemy, no harm, no foul."

This from Charlotte, "David Gergen's remarks sound like a loftier version of 'boys will be boys'. I know many men who are great men who don't cheat on their wives. Petraeus was right to resign."

And this from Gilbert, "Petraeus's resignation seems odd unless his guilt seems too much to hide. I still think he's trying to cover somebody regarding Benghazi."

Keep the conversation going More of your comments in the next hour of the NEWSROOM.

You won't see Phil Jackson coming back to the Lakers. LA makes a move that surprises many people, including their ex-coach.


COSTELLO: The Lakers have a new head coach but it's not Phil Jackson. Bleacher Report's Vince Cellini is it Atlanta. Wow, everyone was excited and then I guess Phil got a little too greedy?

VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Well, you know, there were a lot of factors involved here Carol. And it appears that the Hollywood story where the love where the hero rides in and saves the day, that just didn't happen. Over the weekend, the Lakers and Phil Jackson were in discussions and it looked like it was Phil Jackson's job to turn down if wanted to.

And it appeared that Jackson as surprised as anyone to find out that Mike D'Antoni is the new Laker coach, getting a four-year deal, three years with a team option, $12 million.

At first I thought, I'm not so sure I like this for the Lakers but then it started to make sense. You know, D'Antoni would be a good fit. He coached Steve Nash, the Laker point guard in Phoenix. Nash won two MVPs under D'Antoni. Kobe likes D'Antoni. He watched him as a kid growing up in Italy when his dad was playing in the Italian League with D'Antoni.

So it makes sense in terms of an up tempo offense, an offense they can install quickly in Los Angeles and one that will be entertaining to fans. And really in Hollywood isn't entertainment the most important thing.

COSTELLO: See, I like the dirt. I heard Phil Jackson wanted like insane things in his contract and that's really why he didn't get the job.

CELLINI: Well, that is a good point. I mean Phil wanted an eight- figure salary which is what he left with, probably more than when he left with in 2011. Also, there was talk of control of basketball operations and maybe a piece of ownership, and also travel restrictions with Jackson where he wouldn't have to make certain road trips and his assistants would take over.

I mean if you can live with that, I guess that's ok. But apparently in the end, I think the Lakers wanted a full-time coach.

COSTELLO: Yes. And bye-bye, Phil.

Let's talk about Michael Vick. This is a sad -- at least it's a sad story in my mind. He suffered a concussion in yesterday's game and he's taking a lot of hits this season behind a makeshift front line. I mean is this the end for Michael Vick? Should they keep sending him out there?

CELLINI: Well, we've talked about Michael Vick's demise in the past. I think it might be too early for that. But at the same time, if you think about what's happened with him and the injuries are certainly building up and Sunday was a bad day for quarterbacks. Jay Cutler suffers a concussion, Alex Smith a concussion. Cutler (ph) with the Bears. Smith with 49ers. And then Michael Vick.

There's actually question about whether he'll be available next week for Washington. Carol, if he's ok, he may be out there. I'm not sure that he will. But I do know this. The NFL has a new concussion policy. It's under a lot of scrutiny because past players are suing for concussions they suffered. Is this the end of Michael Vick? I'm not sure it's the complete, final chapter of Michael Vick because in the NFL, they will send out the player who can best help and Michael Vick can certainly best help the Eagles win.

COSTELLO: Yes. And as we saw from the video, there's more than one player who suffered a concussion this weekend.


COSTELLO: Let's talk about Nascar thought before you have to go?


COSTELLO: It was like a pit run brawl, bizarre.

CELLINI: This was great. This was great. The penultimate race of the season happened at Phoenix National Raceway. Now, Jeff Gordon who's a future hall of famer, one of the greatest of all time, hits Clint Bowyer are. He says Bowyer has been giving him the business all year long and this was the time he was going to get him back. And that's Gordon in the pit area. He's apparently jumped by Bowyer's folks and then there's a melee and then Bowyer comes flying in and once he gets involved. And it's just madness.

It's really not good for Nascar but it is kind of good for Nascar because it's old fashioned Nascar retribution and that's what the fans really like. However, Nascar officials spoke with both drivers and teams. We could see some suspensions and fines handed out on Monday. But that certainly spiced things up.

COSTELLO: Well, you see them deliberately cause accidents on the track because that's what initially started it. That can be dangerous.

CELLINI: Well, Nascar -- Nascar and stock car racing is dangerous by nature. Like I said, this is the payback and apparently this is how it's been done for years and years.

Hey remember, for all of the reports, go to bleacherreport and it brings you the sports like Mike D'Antoni's hiring. Carol, back to you. Drive safely.

COSTELLO: I will. I'm going to drive all the way back. Not. Vince Cellini we enjoyed having you. Thank you so much.

CELLINI: Thank you.

COSTELLO: The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.